There's a bit of a reputation for Chinese people to not like sweet things. The evidence for this, I suppose, is in our savoury desserts and in our lack of chocolate (...valid points). This fits, I suppose, with the Nyonya kuih, sweets that are not sweet (and are, in fact, savouries), biscuits that are not really sugary. And they are delicious, my very favourite biscuits ever. More favourite than tim tams, before I went vegan!
I don't know how to describe my love of kuih, but I will try, in this way: I just found this clip on the SBS website, and it is a minute and a half of wordless kuih-making, and I spent the entire time filled with longing and delight and want (TO EAT IT ALL).
Often (but not always) made from glutinous rice flour, kuih range from cakes, to biscuits, to wafer thin pastries. And Chinese New Year is the jackpot, mountains of kuih, bright colours and biscuits that melt when you put them on your tongue. Kuih is often vegan, except sometimes you need to watch out for eggwash, or in some of the cakes actual eggs.
This CNY my kuih goal is pineapple tarts. Pineapple tarts come in three forms: closed, rolled open, and open. The first attempt at pineapple tarts began, oddly enough, not with picking a recipe (though that was part of it), but picking a style.
I baked all three, and have picked closed. Styled with patience and accuracy, they look like tiny pineapples, and the way the pastry crumbles through your whole mouth is awesome.
However before baking, I first made pineapple jam! You may remember my recent requests that people make jam and then give it to me, because I am not a jam maker. I spent some time searching the shops nearby for pineapple jam, and though I found quince, rosehip, fig, apricot, raspberry, tropical, strawberry and ginger marmalade jams, I was quite unable to locate pineapple jam. So I bought a can of pineapple instead, and made pineapple jam! It was great! Super easy, and it made for jam of perfect consistency to put inside the dough.
And so it was, two firsts in one day, labouriously playing with pineapples. The thing is, I don't even like pineapples - but I love pineapple kuih!
The recipe is not quite finalised, so more to come - I have high hopes that I can make this gluten free (pineapple tarts are one of the few kuih that are not made with rice flour). And expect more CNY posts as we get closer, and I try out more things.